December 07, 2007

Pune marathon 07: Where angels fear to tread?

Really, I shouldn't be complaining. Nobody asked me to run the Pune half. They even made it complicated to register. They started late. They had the pavement-dweller and black buck killer flag off the race. And since there were only about 35 of us intrepid wimmen running the half, 34 of whom speeded away, the rest of me was surrounded by hordes of comment-passing menfolk. Traffic control waned after the 10km mark. At one point, there wasn't enough place to run. I walked while clinging to the sides of a dusty busty. err.. bus.

On the non-whiney side: the air was cool, the water was plentiful, every 1.5km or so there were drums and moojic, and it's a great feeling to be chugging along high-fiving lil kids.

If you not otherwise engaged (or married) on Dec 16th, you could run the bangalore ultra marathon. 50km of non-stop excitement. it's tough, are you?

November 06, 2007

her last bow

dasera in basavangudi, bangalore

October 15, 2007

adieu, adieu

to yew and yew and yew ew, as Friedrich winningly lisped.

it's time to leave bengaluru and head northwards. here are some bits of knowledge gleaned from my years here. useful perhaps for those taking my place in the city. (please get in line, no pushing now. leave your vehicle outside the city)

- meals ready means that you get rice-sambar-rasam-palya on banananana leaves. it doesn't mean that even if you knock on the door at 3 a.m., the meal will definitely be ready.

-tiffin is idli, vadai, dosai, utthapa and other goodies. more of a breakfasty snack than a mealce. often not available at lunch time.

- military hotel is a small restaurant where they serve meat. a hindu military hotel presumably serves non-beef meat.

-darshini is the generic name for a tiffin joint. typically, you stand by a metal table and eat. or sit in the family room, where you can also be served mealce, chinjabi and pinese. some have the word darshini as a part of their name. the others... well.. they don't.

southern supremacists, correct me if i'm made any errors. i won't mind at all.

coming soon- some of my secret parking spots in the city.

October 04, 2007

joga bonita

remember the good old days? when spirits were brave, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri*?

ah, that's when it was still the glorious game! for days it would go on. swish. stall. ponder. strategise. withhold resources. run cunningly. feint. skills were key, not just brute strength.

but then came television. marketing! instant gratification! bearded greats of the game shaking their heads in disbelief. "a 90-minute football game just won't allow for the exhibition of skill that you would get from good old 5-day test football!" they muttered.

yes. well, quite.

* yes, i've used that one before. there.

September 10, 2007

On attempting to take a baby out in Bangalore

Call to a fancy shmancy restaurant -lounge near Lavelle road:

Orcaella's friend: Hello, do you allow infants at your f. sch. rest. l.?
Manager: Enfields! You want to bring a royal enfield bullet to dinner? freak!

Call to open-air resto-loungey-regional foodey place near Palace grounds:

Orcaella's friend enunciating very clearly: Hello, do you allow babies at your resto-lounge?
Manager: How many babies?

These places must have been visited by some very odd fish.

August 16, 2007

phobias i have known

punctophobia- fear that a car tyre has developed a puncture. this usually happens while driving late at night, with nary a pancher repare bhooth in sight. this is a particularly annoying phobia for the other occupants of the car as they are forced to get out, stare at plump tyre and help* change it.

mahiphobia- fears of songs with the word mahi**, mahiya or other variations. i would list the offending songs, but I tremble as i type the words. (retires to another room and gulps down a strawberry smoothie, stiffish). the origin of the phobia can be traced to my fish-eating childhood in hawaii.

incompletophobia- fear of reading books that the author didn't end. austen and her Sanditon, Dickens and his mystery of edwin drood, adams and his doubtful salman, all those "Kafka never completed this work", and the technically-complete-but-but short stories of murakami. very frustrating, though i don't blame the authors for posthumous publication. i blame myself.

parkophobia- the fear of parking underground. partly there's the irrational fear that the building will collapse on top of me, and i'll lie there crushed but alive. and the fairly rational fears that i) i will bump into a pillar while negotiating a cunning turn; and ii) i will forget where the car is parked.

sachypoohobia- fear of watching sachin bat. he might get out any minute! and then what meaning would life hold?

What are the phobias you have known? Comment away..

* not so much helping, as actually doing the thing.

** 25 years of watching hindi films and i have no idea what it means. please, don't tell me.

August 09, 2007


"they'll put anything in a cornish pastry, they will"

is what i thought a crusty old character in agatha christie's "dead man's folly" said.

walking near london's southwark cathedral, past a fish n chips shop, i saw a sign advertising cornish pasties. pasties! not pastries! d'oh!
visions of daphne du maurier's cornwall, pale-faced unhealthy men, hercule poirot and a full stomach swam together before my eyes. mmm, pasty.

diving into the chipper (thump. crash.) i casually asked for cornish pasties. with the slightest emphasis on "stee" and a hint of a question mark in the air. accompanied by a hint of "aw shucks! i'm just a tourist here, so forgive me for getting your quaint pronunciation wrong" visible in the twitching lines of my face.
very complex.

i don't think i flatter myself, when i say that the hirsute man and his 6 brothers running the establishment gauged the situation perfectly. my doubts about the correctness of the term were laid to rest by the matter of fact manner in which they turned away from me, scratched, yawned and perspired.

several minutes passed. i was lulled into a dreamlike state by the heat in the room, the sound of the rain outside and the general feeling of waiting for godot.

"aah, merrie england" i murmured. it had all come together in this defining moment.

a microwaved beef puff with plenty of trans fat. that's the way the pasty crumbles.

July 18, 2007

tight bombing patterns!

1. the new harry potter movie
didn't watch it- feather in my cap

2. sivaji- the BOSS
watched. black eye because the plot was so hackneyed.
feather in my cap- because i've now seen superstar rajni's movie in tamil.
black eye- i don't speak tamil
black eye- apparently they fed people in chennai theatres pongal. i watched it in bangalore without any pongal or vadai. gimme eat!

3. the new harry potter book
not going to buy it- feather in my cap. i've been wracking my brains but can't remember what happened in harry and the half blood prince. this is astounding, because i can quote verbatim from every tolk, dick and enid.
black eye- given that i have nothing better to do, thanks to 4., i would rather be reading

4. no tv
am living a pure, clean, healthy life without a television to fill up my head with silly stuff. more time for violin, running, catching up on books, dvds, dusting, playing with dust bunnies. feather in my cap
playing with dust bunnies! black eye

5. running the bangalore marathon and raising funds for Asha
running again, almost injury free, yippee- feder in meine hut
they've already postponed the marathon- black eye
raising funds is difficult, unless, any of you would like to contribute.. (edges forward with eyes fixed on wallet). receives black eye and retires hurt to federer in the hut.

it's ALIVE!

a few gentle readers surround the blob and look at it with distaste.
the lumpen elements among them poke at it with a cattle prod.
the blob rumbles, gurgles, discharges pus of unused blogposts and sits up groggily.
looking around at its not-so-gentle-after-all-i-won't-forget-about-that-cattle-prod-readers, it smiles winningly and asks, "what's for breakfast?"

March 22, 2007

Isle beyond the TIP

"UOMINI and Donne. That’s all the signs on the door said- “Uomini” on one door, “Donne” on the other. A little context... I was traveling with my brother to the Sicilian town of Taormina. Chilled to the bone from a dip in the Ionian sea in October, I needed to use a bathroom. Prontissimo. The bathroom doors, however, didn’t have the universal pictorial label of the figure in the dress with narrow waist and broad hips to guide me. With just Uomini and Donne to work with, it was hard to tell. Don Corleone, many Dons gathering- Donne Corleone and Umbrizzi, I thought. And Uomini sounded female. With such irrefutable logic, and pressure on the bladder increasing, I was about to storm into Uomini, when I remembered Giuseppe Verdi’s La Donna e mobile”, the aria to women’s inconsistency. One fickle Donna, many capricious Donnes? I was stumped. ...."

To read it in all it's glory, go to
Select The Economic Times, Delhi edition.
Use your indiatimes login* and password to login in.
Click on ET Travel and read Isle beyond the TIP

If lazier, go to the html, picture-less version. but you'll regret it..

some reader reactions so far:
"ooh, look at it's an article by Ira Athale on travelling in eastern sicily! mm, i must get myself 3 of those babies"
and also
"hand me my lupari, guiseppe!"

*If you don't have an indiatimes login and password, create one at Then retrace the steps above, leaving out no detail, however unimportant.

March 13, 2007

Redemption song

Sometimes, you treat a loved one very badly. Then you regret it deeply and in a heartfelt manner. Most of the regret is selfish, "How will i get on without you?"
This is especially true when the maltreated object (MO) is your car.

The MO is carefully driven through the gates of the automotive repair shop. If it spluttering and grimy, you carefully avoid meeting the eyes of the any of the makaniks. The car is deposited, emptied of music, bills, funky yellow cushions with a 3-d dog in a skirt on them (they won't believe me till i post a picture of the f. y. pooch cushion) and a hosepipe.

A day later you traipse into the zentrum, free of that hangdog look you had earlier. You may even whistle, though this is foolhardy. They might just decide they don't like your attitude, and hand you one of those Heathrow clear plastic bags with the knob of the gear stick and part of the indicator light thingummy leverbob.

But oh the joy when the car rolls out! If it had teeth, it would smile cheekily and they would glint in the sunlight! (This blobber doesn't have much mechanical aptitude, knowledge or common sense, does she?)

You expansively sign the bill and tut tut in a friendly manner at a grimy spot on the door, but are willing to overlook it this time.

Right then, you could drive into the desert as the sun sets, as they tend to do in car adverts, and it would actually make sense.

February 20, 2007

A Modest Proposal

For Reducing the Discomfort of Air Travel, as well as Making it Cheaply Available to those of Lower Income

It is a melancholy object to those who dizzily travel around the globe, to enter airports- those crowded structures far outside the city. Verily hath Douglas Adams pointed out that the expression "as beautiful as an airport" could not possibly exist.

And yet, most are agreed that the unsightliness of the airport and its Rs. 70 microwaved sandwiches are as nothing, when faced with the horror of a flight on a discount airline. The cramped space, the fixed smiles of rage on the faces of the staff, the interminable delays while seated on the plane with the A/C switched off.. And who has not faced the pain of the ears popping, or even worse, refusing to pop, as the plane descends?

Given this deplorable state of affairs, whoever can find an easy method of making air travel more comfortable would deserve a statue to be put up in public as the preserver of the nation.

But my intention is not only to add to the comfort of those already travelling, but to also increase the numbers of those who currently only aspire to travel, but cannot afford to do so, even on a budget airline.

I cannot claim to have spent years brooding on the topic. But if you, gentle reader, hear me out, you will agree that my suggestion is as worthy of approval as that from the weightiest scholar.

Every putative airline passenger is to be slipped a downer, mickey finn, barbiturate or tranquilizer; then led to a gurney and told to "lie back now ducky, good night sweet prince and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest". As the eyeballs roll backwards in the head, the contents of the gurney can be dumped onto a conveyor belt and sent towards the plane.

Strong men (the kind that wince and hide their valuables) could load the doped out dopes onto metal trays stacked one above the other. An adjusted tray-belt here, a crack to the outflung elbow there and the flight is ready for take off.

Assuming an airplane that currently carries 60 passengers, the craft would now be able to load more than twice that number. The only restriction would be the weight of the sleepy bodies. Given the reduced need for stewards, food, oxygen masks and seats with floatation devices below them, the increased numbers could be huge.

Opening up capacity in this manner would lead to a drop in fares, opening the doors (of perception too!) to the poorer populace with laced pop.

I would go further with the advantages but all this modest proposing (oh i'm nothing special really, but do be mine) has made me hungry.

Time for some "most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled ...”